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I've had multiple background checks at various companies, but this is the first one that has repeatedly contacted me because they were "unable to verify my information". So far they've asked for proof that I've worked at 3 separate companies and they're asking for my diploma from one of my schools. Two of the jobs that they want proof from (specifically W2s), I have no way to prove that I've worked there. One is out of business and the other is a big corporation which apparently "can't verify that I've worked there". The W2s for those jobs are long gone.

They said they've been in contact with the school, but can't verify that I've graduated (I graduated 10 years ago). I should be able to supply the diploma, but don't have a transcript, which they also want.

As far as I can see, there is no way to talk to a human at the background check company. All of the requested information is from automated emails. Would it be wise to contact the actual company that's hiring me to let them know what's going on? I'm supposed to start work in about 3 days...

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  • Also, be careful. For example, if you are in Germany and ask the police what they know about you, they will tell you everything they know. If I or a background checking company asked, the information would be filtered. So you might give them information that they are absolutely not entitled to.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 18, 2022 at 7:04
  • If you worked at those companies more than 10 years ago, then they are largely irrelevant, and I would push back. If you recently worked there, given your supposed to keep tax documents more 5-10 years, that’s entirely on you if you don’t have them. It’s not clear how you expect them to verify your work history at a company that no longer exists.
    – Donald
    Feb 18, 2022 at 13:08
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    @gnasher729 - W2s are exclusively an American concept
    – Donald
    Feb 18, 2022 at 13:40
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    If it were me i'd just respond and say i don't have it. Often they just forward this on as unverified to the hiring manager. Sometimes it will exclude you. But i've found the most onerous onboarding and background checks are usually the worst jobs i've had anyway.
    – schizoid04
    Feb 18, 2022 at 16:00
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    Have you verified this background check company is who they say they are and that the information is actually vital for your employment? There's enough information on a W-2 for identity theft; they shouldn't be given to just anyone.
    – Seth R
    Feb 18, 2022 at 18:10

4 Answers 4

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First of all background check companies don't fail you, they create a report about you and the hiring company decides if they still want to hire you.

Sometimes ancient information about past jobs is important. If the company wants to pay you $xx because you have 20 years of experience, then they want proof you have that experience. I also ran into one situation where the government customer required the contracting company to prove the experience level of anybody added to the contract.

Old businesses, that have gone under are a common issue with background checks. I had one company that wanted to visit my old office to ask questions, but the project had moved, and the building had been gutted and renovated. But they insisted.

If you can scrape together any proof do so.

It is normal to provide transcripts. US universities usually can provide an unofficial transcript for free via their website. They will also offer a official transcript for a cost. they will send it directly to the background checking company.

You can talk to the hiring company. They may be able to help. I have done that when I have had issues in the past.

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  • You had a company that wanted to physically go to your old office to talk to people? Feb 21, 2022 at 6:40
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You are spot on with the idea that you're doing all the work. Truth be told, background companies are really around to scrape up any negative information. This one apparently isn't able to find any, so they're trying to sucker you into doing the work.

If you signed a release for your background info, that should include your school records but this would mean they'd have to pay the school for the transcript. So instead, they fool you into paying for it instead. You didn't agree to do the work for them and pay related fees!!!

If this was the expectation for me, I'd look elsewhere. You might choose differently.

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Let me start by clarifying that I am not at all familiar with background checks.

Unfortunately, I am familiar with dumb automated processes. If everything is automated I see a potential risk of you failing the background check because you won't be able to spoon-feed them information in the format they want. Therefore there is a reputation and job loss risk for you.

I would start by collecting alternative means of proof (colleagues, pay checks), then find an alternative way to reach some person (preferably via telephone) at the background check company, explain the situation and see their response.

If you feel you will fail the background check due to the issues you outlined, I would call the person who hired you and also explain the situation, and offer those alternative means of proof in case of a failed check.

If you think the background check company is doing a poor job, after passing it and establishing raport with you colleagues you may try and convince your employer not to do business with them again.

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It is your duty to accurately represent your work history on your resume. Hopefully you have done that.

You have zero responsibility to "prove" or otherwise document your work history.

You have no relationship whatsoever with this alleged "background check" company and for all you know they don't even work for the company for which you applied. Under no circumstances should you deign to make any answer to such an impudent firm or other persons unknown.

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